Cottingham and Adams on Faith As a Virtue Term Paper

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Cottingham and Adams on Faith as a Virtue

Faith as a Virtue

There is presently much controversy regarding the difference between theists and atheists, as the masses have a limited understanding of each of these groups. Naturalists are particularly important in this situation, as they concentrate on performing an in-depth analysis of things before being able to express an opinion regarding these respective things. The scientific community is generally inclined to refute concepts related to a supernatural force controlling the universe and it emphasizing the importance of evidence when considering things that ideas should accept as being valid. In contrast, religious people believe that faith is actually the result of sufficient evidence that has been gathered through the years and that materialized in emotions felt by believers and in traditions that they uphold.

Theists are typically inclined to believe that atheists are unable to appreciate life to its full potential because they do not understand how it works and the fact that many of the things that they consider that they are entitled to are actually privileges. From an atheist point-of-view, one's life can only be exploited to the fullest if the respective individual acknowledges the importance of everything that happens around him or her and only accepts ideas that can be verified. Theists believe that the simplest of things are actually more complex that they might seem and that one does not simply understand something as a result of being familiar with the material properties that the respective concept has. They emphasize the fact that something as simple as a meal needs to be appreciated because of its spiritual nature. Theism promotes the belief that a person can only understand the concept of eating if he or she employs a spiritual analysis concerning the practice. Naturalism apparently provides a great deal of benefits to individuals, but it cannot provide them with the whole experience regarding life and living as a spiritual individual. Theists believe that it would be irresponsible for them to deny the importance of practices that seem trivial and that are actually some of the most important actions that they can possibly perform (Cottingham 416).

According to Cottingham, it is very probable that naturalists can attempt to understand more regarding the true value of particular acts that they perform. He considers that they are able to understand the importance of something as trivial as a meal and are likely to be thankful for the fact that they have access to resources. However, he also believes that they are not going to understand the full complexity of a meal as long as they maintain their beliefs. "It is not that such views are devoid of value, or that it would be pointless to utter them, but that their thinness, their lack of the power and resonance given by a rich interpretative context, means they cannot capture a great deal of what is valuable in their theistic analogues" (Cottingham 416). Atheists can perform an intellectual and affective analysis in their attempt to assess the importance of a particular practice, but the results that they are going to get from the endeavor are unlikely to provide them with a complete understanding of the respective practice. In spite of their dedication to appreciate the full set of values belonging to a certain concept, their thinking and the fact that they are unwilling to believe in a divine force makes it impossible for them to appreciate the value of having faith.

Cottingham considers that "the theistic look offers to its adherents a complex interpretative framework for human life, a framework within which intuitively precious virtues find a secure place" (Cottingham 410-411). Tradition makes it possible for theists to adopt a moral lifestyle that would be very difficult to take on by an atheist. It is not necessarily that theists live in a whole different world as a result of their beliefs, as they are actually taught to employ an attitude that combines humbleness and hope with the purpose of experiencing life to its full potential. Cottingham wants his readers to understand that being a believer does not mean that one is excused from being subjected to all the suffering present on earth, as it simply means that the respective individual will accept his or her fate more honorably than an atheist. Believers apparently endure easier in comparison to atheists, as they know that the experiences that they are subjected to are a part of God's greater plan. In contrast to atheists, theists are humbly accepting everything that the world provides them with and even thought they are sometimes amazed as a result of the greatness of the concepts that they are presented with they learn to express as little shock as possible, as they are simple spectators witnessing God's glory. It is as if theists are also spiritually affected as a result of witnessing a glorious thing - they are not only concerned with the material aspect of the greatness that they observe.

B. In spite of the fact that they are focused on understanding things from a material point-of-view, naturalists can also comprehend more regarding concepts if they employ a more detailed approach at analyzing them. Fate is one of the most important concepts in Christianity and many Christians associate non-believing with sinning. Even with this, Christians believe that it is essential for a human being to behave as morally as possible in order for the respective individual to be considered an ethical person. Atheists understand this concept and are determined to act morally because they know that it is very important for a person to do so in order to integrate the social order and in order to improve conditions in the world.

Although rationality is one of the most important values in naturalist communities, most naturalists are aware of the fact that it is important for them to put across moral behavior. Religious people are often inclined to discriminate non-religious individuals on the basis that they do not believe in God. However, most of these religious people are unable to properly understand the concept of believing. Individuals cannot simply be discriminated because they do not believe in God, as they should actually be discriminated on account of the fact that they are reluctant to listen to Him (Adams 9). Naturalists make full use of their ability to doubt and emphasize the fact that they are not necessarily reluctant to believe in God. Instead, they prefer to consider a series of options before actually becoming believers. Moreover, even when they do become believers they are inclined to 'sin' by questioning God's purposes and by trying to determine whether or not they are doing what is right through believing.

Rationality is one of the most important tools that naturalists have access to and they are determined to use it whenever they get the chance to do so. Naturalists believe that it is recommended to have faith and to trust God in particular occasions because individuals who do so are more likely to experience positive results at certain moments in their lives. However, they consider that the concept of believing needs to experience reform in order for it to actually assist individuals. Naturalists do not want faith to affect the course of their lives because they prefer to be in charge of what happens to them. In order to do so, an individual would need to have a complex understanding of him or herself. Through accepting religion into their lives, individuals are no longer in control and risk being manipulated. Naturalists believe that life is probable to worsen as long as the individual expresses little to no interest in improving it and he or she is likely to experience suffering if he or she is no longer in control. There is a sort of balance in people's lives as they provide God with control over them and as they also struggle to control as much of their lives as they possibly can.

C. Clifford focused on the idea that any concept needs to be accompanied by sufficient evidence in order for it to be considered valid. The fact that people have the ability to doubt everything provides them with the opportunity to verify whether or not it is justified for them to express particular beliefs. The concept of faith is very inconclusive when considering the fact that it is impossible for someone to demonstrate that it is a virtue. Surely, it is normal for people to use faith with the purpose of learning moral principles in the process. However, faith can affect individuals and can render them unable to control their lives and their actions. Considering that it is impossible for someone to demonstrate that faith is a virtue, it only seems natural for people to express reluctance in regard to becoming believers. As a person loses control over his life he or she is no longer able to control his or her thinking and he or she is generally influenced by…

Sources Used in Document:

Works cited:

Cottingham, John, "What Difference Does it Make? The Nature and Significance of Theistic Belief"

Merrihew Adams, Robert, "The Virtue of Faith"

Wood, "W. K. Clifford and the Ethics of Belief"

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